Saturday, January 17, 2009

Fixing the heat

My house has been a bit cold lately. the spring before last winter, we had teh air conditioning on the first floor fixed with a new heat pump unit. Yay! We took out the window units and settled into a new life of cool comfort. Then came last winter. The house was a little cool, but that was OK. A sweater never hurt anybody, and we kept the bills down, and it never got so cold that the heat pump didn't work.

Flash forward to this week. For those of you unfamiliar with heat pumps, for them to work until, say, 40 degree high days, you need to have a heat coil unit. The units are expensive, the heat is expensive, and they still have issues with keeping a house with old windows heated. We do not have that coil unit. We opted to keep our gas boiler. The heating and cooling folks were supposed to set it up so we could turn on teh boiler if it got bad.

Natural gas prices have skyrocketed right with them gas prices. Only they don't go down so fast. So we have been braving it with the fireplace, space heaters, and the option to turn on the boiler if it got bad. This week, it got bad. Down the stairs went the brave JoeyAndyDad to turn on the boiler.

He flipped the switch upstairs. He flipped the switch downstairs. The boiler lighter click-click-clicked. The radiators started getting water in them. But the gas did not fire up with its glorious WHOOSH of heat and comfort. All we had was click-click-click and the smell of gas.

Not good.

So we battened down hatches, called the heating and cooling folks, and put extra blankets on the beds. Yesterday, I got the fire roaring while we waited for the heating and cooling guy. And he arrived. On time and everything, because we use the good heating and cooling people in town, we don't joke around. And they are awesome.

And he looked at the furnace, and the wiring, and what had happened with the installation of the other unit, and wow, he was hot. Apparently, the other guys were supposed to do something very different, with a whole different kind of thermostat. They were supposed to hook us up so that the boiler switched on automatically when it got to be 40 degrees outside, and not have us completely dependent on a heat pump. What they did instead was try to rig it so that I had to manually turn on the boiler- which was causing some kind of electrical signal issue, so that when we tried to turn on the boiler, we got no heat at all. And what made him mad is that apparently, I wasn't supposed to have requested this, since our heat pump had no emergency coils, it should have just been matter-of-course in the installation.

So he got us our boiler working. And now he'll be back next week with the proper thermostat, and install that like it should have been almost two years ago. And my house will not be chilly ever again... unless I make it that way on purpose, or something breaks.

Happy cold snap.


kristi said...

OH my! That is not good,but I am glad y'all are warm now!

Stimey said...

I think you know that I'm not good with cold. If it's 68 degrees in my house, I'm wearing a sweatshirt and under a blanket.